The South Korean Military has ordered suicide drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that fire guns from the air and battlefield reconnaissance drones to be carried on the back of soldiers.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced that it has signed contracts with companies to acquire three types of unmanned systems- suicide UAVs, drones that fire guns from the air and small-sized drones carried by soldiers’ backpack for surveillance.
These drones will be deployed on a trial run in the next three to six months, Yohnap News reported quoting a DAPA release.
Names of companies on whom orders were placed was not revealed neither the number of drones or their value. However, the orders may have been placed on domestic companies as several South Korean firms are working on drone programs.
A DAPA handout photo of what looks like a quadcopter drone is captioned as “reconnaissance, attack" drone. The set of blurry images show the quadcopter in folded, deployed and four such drones packed in a soldier’s backpack.
"The rapid acquisition project is aimed at applying the private sector's fast-evolving new technologies to the military. It is expected to be an innovative model to improve defense capabilities down the road," DAPA chief Wang Jung-hong was quoted as saying by Yonhap.
South Korean military drone projects:
The Army launched a drone-led combat unit in September 2019 called "dronebot combat unit" consisting of 80 soldiers with expertise in operating various types of drones.
Army Chief of Staff Kim Yong-woo said in a speech the that the unit will carry out their mission as part of an organization of the Army's third infantry division.
"We are going to turn the Korean military into one of the world's most tech-savvy armed forces to prepare for possible security threats," he said.
The unit is comprised of sub-organizations ― including those focusing on scouting out possible security threats and on carrying out combat missions, the Army said.
South Korean defence major, Hanwha Systems is developing the drone integrated control system (DICS) for the dronebot combat system of the army. Besides the DICS, it has developed the drone wireless power charge system, and the drone surveillance radar.
Korean Aerospace has been developing the Kus-FC stealth attack drone. The defense ministry’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) flew a subscale demonstrator, the Kaori-X, in 2015. Korean Aerospace displayed a model of the KUS-FC at the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in October 2019. But nothing is known about the progress of the full scale model.